From The Ice

Anders Nilsson Sees Rights Dealt Yet Again (Updated)

Anders Nilsson Sees Rights Dealt Yet Again (Updated)
Cat Silverman

On Monday, Anders Nilsson was dealt from the Chicago Blackhawks to the Edmonton Oilers.

That is, his rights were dealt — the 6 foot 5 Swedish netminder never actually donned a Blackhawks jersey. He was actually only listed in their system for one season, which he spent playing for Ak-Bars Kazan of the KHL. He hasn’t played in North America since the 2013-2014 season, which saw him struggle when splitting his time between the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and the New York Islanders.

The Oilers gave up forward prospect Liam Coughlin in the swap, who has spent the last two seasons in the BCHL and is committed to playing for the University of Vermont next year.

Coughlin was a ‘reach pick’ when the Oilers selected him in the fifth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, coming out of what many consider a lower-calibre league with the BCHL’s Vernon Vipers. The amateur league serves as a cheat system for skaters who want to play NCAA following their junior careers, but the South Boston native’s decision not to stay in the US instead of heading for Western Canada could be a red flag about his pace against higher competition as a junior skater. He played for his high school prior to heading to the BCHL, but overall is still a question mark as a prospect.

He’s the perfect player, therfore, to give up for a ‘maybe’ netminder.

The Blackhawks recently walked away from their second of two high-level backups in Antti Raanta, whom they dealt to the New York Rangers in the aftermath of the Cam Talbot trade. They still have both Corey Crawford and Scott Darling, though, who likely stood in the way of Nilsson ever seeing NHL ice while in their system.

For the Oilers, though, he’s an intriguing possibility. While Nilsson struggled in his first two seasons in North America, the lanky netminder seemed to see his game revived while back in the KHL. He finished his 2014-2015 campaign with a .936 SV% in thirty-eight starts for Ak-Bars, then saw his numbers take a microscopic dip to a .935 SV% in twenty post-season appearances. He proved capable of starting in Russia, and could contemplate a return to North American hockey as a result.

It’s no secret that Edmonton struggles in net. The club has gone through a near-comical carousel of netminders in the last handful of years, and their tandem from the 2014-2015 campaign was far from a viable solution. They’ve added Cam Talbot, but both Ben Scrivens and Viktor Fasth ended last year on an extremely low note.

The Pacific Division club could be well-served in the future with prospect Laurent Brossoit, who looks like he could be ready to shoulder starts within the next handful of seasons. Finnish prospect Eetu Laurikainen is also an intriguing option for the club, as he went from posting impressive numbers for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos to holding up well as a 22 year old behind SM-liiga’s Espoo Blues. Adding Nilsson to the name of possibilities for the Oilers, though, is far from a bad thing — especially since he could potentially fill a need now (even at the AHL level, if that’s what he agrees to) while Coughlin likely wouldn’t even see pro ice time for another two to four years.

In any case, it’s clear that the Oilers are continuing to tinker — and it’s doubtful they’re finished just yet.


The team has also signed the netminder to a one-year deal.

  • Truthhurts98

    It’s a one way contract, correct? So I’m guessing it’s a make or break season for Nilsson. I like the trade, very low risk with a potentially high upside. I’m guessing the Oilers will add/move a couple more defensemen before the season starts. Nilsson played on a terrible Islander team that had less than average defense, so any goalie would have suffered. Good defense will make any goalie more confident. Thanks for the article, nicely done!

    • Cat Marie

      Thanks! I’m still on the fence about Nilsson because I saw a lot he could have improved upon. But the goaltending depth right now gives them a ton of options to look at in pre-season, for sure.

From The Ice
Cat Silverman

Catherine is the first American in a long line of Canadians, making her the black sheep before she even decided she wasn't going to be a Leafs fan. Her cousins may never forgive her for the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, but they're at least glad she's a rink rat, too. She's a pretty terrible goalie, but she's got a good grasp on the game from her seat on the bench.

More in From The Ice

12 April 2014: Phoenix Coyotes Goalie Mark Visentin (40) prior to the start of the first period of the San Jose Sharks' NHL game against the Phoenix Coyotes at arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Mark Visentin Gets Second Chance with Rockford IceHogs

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
MAR 03, 2015:  Ottawa Senators forward Mike Hoffman (68) skates with the puck in the first period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul, Minnesota. The Minnesota Wild beat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 in a shoot out.

Mike Hoffman’s Arbitration Flying Under the Radar

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
Prague, 17.5.2015, Ice Hockey IIHF World Championships, Canada - Russia, goalie Sergei Bobrovski (RUS) ****NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY----NO AGENTS----NORTH AND SOUTH AMERICA SALES ONLY****

Would KHL Benefit From a Russian U18 Development Team?

Cat SilvermanJuly 8, 2015
April 18, 2015: St. Louis Blues' rightwing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) is congratulated by his teammates after scoring in the first period during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo. The Blues won, 4-1.

Vladimir Tarasenko Cashes in With Eight-Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
October 21, 2014: Arizona Coyotes left wing Mikkel Boedker (89) skates with the puck during the NHL game between the Nashville Predators and the Arizona Coyotes, held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  ***Editorial Use Only***

Mikkel Boedker Accepts One Year Deal With Coyotes

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
15 June 2015:  Tampa Bay Lightning Center Cedric Paquette (13) [9861] battles with Chicago Blackhawks Defenceman Trevor van Riemsdyk (57) [8749] and Chicago Blackhawks Goalie Corey Crawford (50) [3760] in action during game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, in Chicago, IL.

Trevor van Riemsdyk Sees Extension with Chicago

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015

Who is Kole Sherwood, Columbus’ Newest Forward?

Cat SilvermanJuly 7, 2015
27 April 2015:  Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates his game winning goal against the New York Islanders at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. where the Washington Capitals defeated the New York Islanders, 2-1 in the deciding game of Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Evgeny Kuznetsov Gets Two Year Deal

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015
11 April 2015: Boston Bruins right wing Brett Connolly (14) during the NHL regular season game between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena in Tampa, FL.

Bruins Lock Up Brett Connolly, Jimmy Hayes With Deals

Cat SilvermanJuly 6, 2015